So what do you do when all that you know, and believe in and have based all life actions on – no longer applies? In fact it never really did apply. What happens when traditional wisdom fails and rules you once believed to be infallible – fail?
When I grew up I was made to believe and I was taught that if you behave, listen and do what you are told you will be loved, liked and accepted. I followed the rules only to find that I was sent to boarding school at the age of five because the other kids in the area were misbehaving and my parents were tired of us being blamed. So they sent us away. I had followed all the rules, I was a good little boy and yet I was punished for other people’s behaviour. At the age of seven I was marched into the staff room of Mondeor Primary School to receive three of the best, from the principal, Mr. De Kock (remember when they used to issue beatings at school?). My crime – I happened to be present on a public bus at the same time older boys from another school were spitting out of the windows on the upper level. All of the boys, who happened to be on that bus and in a Mondeor Primary uniform, were physically assaulted by a grown man with a flexible stick. I was physically beaten for something I had no knowledge of and did not do.
So I learned that being good and listening doesn’t always equal love and acceptance. In fact in many cases the opposite happens.
We all had rules, and beliefs that we lived by, and for a long time they actually seemed logical.
- Study at school; get a degree and you’ll get a good job
- Exercise and you will lose weight
- Eat correctly and you will be slim
- Look for the good in people and they will surprise you
- Woman love men who are kind, considerate, treat them well and are gentlemen
What happens when the exact opposite occurs in direct contradiction to the beliefs and laws we have believed in, some of which may have worked in the past?
- I’ve learnt that studying is not a guarantee to a good job, good life or security. Tell that to the thousands of qualified doctors selling insurance or Amway, or the LLB law graduate working in his dads engineering plant. What you do with the knowledge, how you apply it, and who you know is the key. They should have taught us how to network and how to build relationships. More importantly they should have helped us find our passion; motivated us to study and then how to apply it.
- To lose weight stop eating sugar and bread and exercise daily. No! All this does is make you a dull person who says no to good food and spends his time peddling on a bicycle in a gym that doesn’t go anywhere. Exercising and eating correctly is a myth after you reach the age of 45. You can train every other day (as I have) for 12 years, eat salad and swear off donuts, chocolates, bread and all tasty food but you still actually put weight on every year. Ask any 40-year-old if eating correctly makes a micro-gram of difference. When you hit 40, the game changes. Just thinking about a milk tart puts half a kilo to your butt. The older you get the harder it is to stay healthy and in shape, and most 50-year-old with fantastic bodies are on some kind of drug or growth hormone and they love plastic surgery.
- As for looking for the good in people – People will surprise you if you are dumb enough to only look for the good. I promise you their bad side is waiting for some “look for the good” person to sucker punch you and your business into failing.
- Women do love kind, gentleman who treat them right! But how come is it then that all the ill-mannered, rude, selfish, couldn’t give a damn men get and have more pretty woman then people who don’t bother to vote? (That’s about 14 million people-in case you’re wondering). Ask most honest woman and they will tell you that a good man is great but bad boys drive them wild. Women are attracted to kindness and manners but they are mad about alpha males. “All of them?” You might ask. No, not all, only about 70% and the other 30% are probably lying or who have learnt the hard way that a bad boy becomes a bad man who takes it out on a good woman.
The truth is that most of the rules and beliefs we are taught are merely idealistic fairy tales that we should strive for and try to achieve in our lives. Real-life however is not like that and the rules as you’ve been taught them; well they’re pretty slippery. This may sound like a middle-aged crisis rant, but it’s really not. I wish someone had told me about the fairy tale laws and then the real-life laws when I was younger. Hell I wish I could meet a 70-year-old street-smart person now to tell me about what to expect for the next 25 years. Here are a few actual rules.
- Life is not fair! Who said it was? Life can be tough or beautiful it’s all up to you, but know that pain is a big part of life, and life is messy. Marriage, kids, business, careers, health, relationships are all part of life so they are all messy and no one-size fits all.
- People are honest! Nah! People will lie, steal, cheat and promise you anything based on their agenda. And everyone has an agenda and most people want something from you. Ask Dr Greg House who says – “everyone lies”.
- People are basically good they just don’t know it. But people have issues and everyone wants something from you. Trust me! Very few people will come into your life wanting to help you and make your life better, richer and stronger without wanting something in return.
- Be careful what you think and say. Nonsense! What you do is the only thing that really counts. You are judged on your actions not on your thoughts. Thanks goodness for that – if I was judged by my thoughts I would have been in prison years ago. Your actions speak louder than anything you could possibly say. Everyone has an opinion and the opinionated ones, the critics, the “devil’s advocates” talk, condemn and are the first to criticize and mouth-off. Anyone can say they care and that they love you but it’s the people who pitch up, and who have your back that really love you.
- Love is forever. No! Love is an action. If you want it to last forever you have to work on it and demonstrate it every day. It’s what you do that matters. And here’s the bad news – if the person you love has issues it really doesn’t matter what you do.
- All people are basically good. Nope! Some people are mean and cruel and some people are nice. Keep the kind ones.
- Try and find your soul mate. No such thing. No one can complete you. No one can make you happy, no one really wants to, and you are responsible for your own happiness. You may find somebody who connects with you, but the friendship takes hard work and effort from both of you. So rather look for a committed, loyal person. It’s also less airy-fairy.
- Friends for life! Friends will come and go. Some will leave scars and a few will leave pleasant memories but they will leave.
- Always be there for your friends. Depends on what they want you there for? Never lend money to a friend – ever. Unless you don’t want the friendship anymore. Never lend money to anyone with money problems – they’ve already proven they can’t work with or be around money so why give them more? It’s like giving an addict drugs. A lesson I have learnt over and over and over again.
- Oh and I love this one as a close – people who like you won’t hurt you. Anyone you’ll ever love will one day make you cry (sad). Think about it!
I suppose the rules haven’t really ever changed. We were just told fairy tales. Fairy tales that would hopefully make us better people. But fairy tales are just make-believe and the day you realize this, is a tough day. But the day you understand the actual rules, is the day you are set free. Maybe we should teach our children better so they are better prepared. Maybe we should have nursery rhymes and fairy tales that are kind and gentle but teach about the real rules of life.
Have a great month!